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DOJ launches civil investigation into Minneapolis Police Department

MINNEAPOLIS (FOX47) — The Justice Department is launching an extensive civil investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the probe Wednesday morning on the heels of the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial. The former officer was convicted of all charges in the murder of George Floyd, and he remains in a state prison awaiting sentencing.

Garland said the goal of the DOJ investigation is to determine whether Minneapolis Police follows a “pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing.”

There will be a comprehensive review of police policies, training, supervision and use of force investigations. That includes whether MPD uses excessive force during protests.

In addition, the investigation will focus on whether MPD engages in “discriminatory conduct” and if the police department’s treatment of those with behavioral disabilities is unlawful.

Garland said another goal is determining whether MPD’s current system for accountability is effective enough.

The Justice Department will publish a report if it finds a pattern of unlawful policing. It could also file a civil suit, which would call on a federal court to order Minneapolis Police to make changes.

Investigators will speak with community members to hear their experiences with police. Officers will also be interviewed about the training they receive. Garland said their perspective is essential.

“Most of our nation’s law enforcement officers do their difficult jobs honorably and lawfully,” Garland said. “I strongly believe that good officers do not want to work in systems that allow bad practices.”

“Good officers welcome accountability, because accountability is an essential part of building trust with the community, and public safety requires public trust,” Garland added.

This civil probe is separate from the federal criminal investigation into Floyd’s death, which is ongoing.

Byron Tollefson

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